In Outback Explorer, James Dodd uses painting to look at graffiti as a cultural indicator. While most think of graffiti as street art (think Keith Haring, Banksy, et all), Dodd sees graffiti as any marking made in a public space. Interested in crude insults and declarations, Dodd uses these unrestrained vandalisms as a signifier of people and the psyche of a place, here applied to a place he loves - the Australian outback. Using these writings to understand and explore the country, Dodd shows the truth of our backyard, removed from the myth and fantasy of Australian folklore.
Image: James Dodd, 2010.
In Connecting You, Robyn Backen looks broadly at the history and implications of mass communication. Backen's installation includes old phones and an audio component using phone conversations with JFK, both of which combine with the frequent use of circularity to evoke the power and ongoing relevance of telephone technology in contemporary society. Spiritual connotations of telephones and telephone technology are played against their banal and functional purpose.
Image: Robyn Backen, 2010, installation view.
Blaze is an annual showcase of Canberra's foremost emerging artists. Blaze Nine includes the work of eleven artists: Richard Blackwell, Jacqueline Bradley, Skylen Dall, Benjamin Forster, Rachael Freeman, Erica Hurrell, Robbie Karmel, Sarah Kaur, Tye McBride, TJ Phillipson and Adam Veikkanen. Six of the artists were CCAS studio residents in 2009 and all work in a diverse range of media. The show was curated carefully to demonstrate the breadth and potential of emerging artists in Canberra. From the collection of vastly differing works, strong themes of perceived realities and illusion became prevalent. Issues of reality and illusion raised by contemporary artists often unbalance and play with the audience's sensory awareness. To confront the interplay between past experiences and current interpretation, the exhibition artists use hidden meaning, humour, juxtaposition, optical illusion and seemingly innocent yet often jarringly honest images to challenge the viewer's perception of art and the world around them.
Words by Serge Bodulovic.
Image: installation view, 2010.
Image: Chloe Bussenschutt, 2010, installation view.
"Deb Mansfield also works with landscapes to transform them beyond the mundane. Here the boundaries are again interfaces: mangroves being at the ￼junction of land and sea. The next layer Mansfield explores is the boundary between the external world and the domestic interior. The mangroves are brought inside, first into her apartment, then into galleries. Following the ravages of hurricane Katrina, the swamps of Louisiana forced the outside in. The disruption of the interior finds expression in an Albino alligator, an ectoplasmic discharge, and an inverted house. By converting the image to tapestry Mansfield returns us to the domestic world from whence we came."
Image: Deb Mansfield, 2010, installation view.
Pete Volich’s Dirty Finger Prints is an exhibition of video, photography and collage about memory, habitat, and how we affect these inanimate things. Showing suburban areas, Sydney gangs, old clothes and animals among many other things, the works ties together this diverse subject matter to create a vague narrative that makes us question and contemplate the experience of human life. Introspective, environmental and humorous are all parts of the puzzle, which Volich explores as social voyeur, never attempting to solve but instead simply present.
Image: Pete Volich, 2010, installation detail.
Space. It seems to go on and on forever. Then you get to the end, and a monkey starts throwing barrels at you.
Phillip Fry, Futurama
From time immemorial artists have looked to the heavens with a sense of awe and wonder but infinity (as we know it) is definitely not the concern of Innerspace. Christopher Bennie, Jacqueline Bradley, Ham Darroch, Shellaine Godbold, Ellis Hutch, Claire Pendrigh Elliott, Rusty Peters and Jed Wolki take a view of space that is more about reverie than comprehension. Deep space thus becomes a profoundly personal matter. Whether employing cosmic clichés, scientific research, observation or stories, the universal is to be found at home; in the kitchen, the nursery, the studio or the extended backyard. Materials are nearly always appropriately modest, with for example, cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, chocolate wrappers, wool, old newspapers, trash and breakfast cereal expressing grand(iose) ideas that engage with a futile struggle to conquer the meaning of life. Quite simply, Innerspace is an exhibition that sees the notion of space grounded by the gravitational pull of prosaic imagination.
Jacqueline Bradley, Universal Breakfast, 2013, wood, bronze, steel, silverware, ceramic, card, plastic paper; 130cm x 130cm x 70cm
Photograph: courtesy of the artist; photography by Brenton McGeachie.
Chris Bennie whose work features in Innerspace, is also exhibiting ,The Waves + Control Rooms at PhotoAccess from 2-26 July. His visit to Canberra is supported in partnership PhotoAccess and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres’ Visiting Artists Program.
Room is a sculptural installation that addresses notions of individual choice and decision-making in relation to the habitual and familiar. Human-scale sculptural objects evocative of humble bedroom or motel-room furnishings inhabit the gallery. The objects reference black and white directional signage of Australian suburban and regional roadways, inviting the audience to navigate the space. In this work tactility and aspects of the everyday coalesce with the absurdity of the objects to prompt subjective memories and responses.
Amelia Zaraftis Two Way 2015, installation, dimensions variable; photography by Brenton McGeachie
Gregory Hodge's work is characterised by psychedelic abstraction; while it may have evolved from postmodernism, his neon clashes of churning colour seem to owe more to a box of exploding origami.
Gregory Hodge Untitled 2015 acrylic on paper mounted on PVC 183cm x 152cm; Photography by Brenton McGeachie
Gregory Hodge is represented by sullivan+strumpf, Sydney
Working in an expanded painting practice, Zoe Kirkwood uses the visual language and extravagance of the Baroque spectacle to create engulfing worlds that bring together painting, sculpture and installation.
In her most recent body of work The Screen Set, Zoe engages with the history of painting and its relationship to the three-dimensional world through the creation of large painted screens. Drawing on elements of her earlier painting and sculptural work, these screens take on the appearance of theatre props; functioning together as an elaborate stage set that directs, diverts and obscures the audience’s view; extending her painted work into the physical space of the viewer.
artist's statementZoe Kirkwood, The Painted Fold Series, 2013, installation view, dimensions variable, acrylic and oil on canvas, stainless steel, mild steel, wood, enamel; photography by Brenton McGeachie